navigation menu+

the speakeasy at yeah write #79 submission: money tin

Posted on 17 Oct 12 by in the speakeasy, writing fringes | 12 comments


Celebrating a month of the strange, supernatural and unexplained over at the speakeasy, a place for flash fiction and the short poem.

Money Tin

There was never much left at the end of the month, but there was always something in the money tin for just enough. Just enough for a need weighted as a luxury. Just enough for a piece of fish at the market on her way home from the VA where she took her father each week for his appointments. Just enough for her to catch the brief scent of the ones who’d promised they’d always be there for her then weren’t.

Her husband Taffy died as poor as he was the day he was born, but never once did she feel anything was missing. The buses ran on time as they both admired the newer, sleeker models of cars passing by their stop with each new year. When the stores were transformed from mom and pop to big box, she and Taffy held hands under the bright fluorescent lights and bought toilet paper cheaper yet softer than they’d ever imagined. They stole kisses in self-checkout.

In the money tin today was forty dollars. That was about four months of not spending any of it. Wrapped in her engagement pashmina which always made them giggle, but seriously, who could afford wedding jewelry awaiting ruin as she scrubbed floors in places no better than whorehouses? Wrapped in her engagement pashmina, she thumbed through old photos, grabbed her pinking shears and began to cut.

Through no original intent of her own, Allard, her first husband had been born into French nobility. Although she loved him very much, and she was sure he loved her, there was a certain malaise present in that marriage, the result of never really having much to do. State dinners, sport, social callings. It was a life unbecoming a pauper drawn into it accidentally and simply because of a love she’d dreamt up years before the night he was born.

She was released the hour the revolution arrived, spared only because the insurgents recognized her despite her dark beauty or, perhaps, because of it, as one of their own. Allard, beheaded without the official ceremony of Louis XVI who would be executed days later, died at her feet.

Careful to cut with her shears and mix from her money tin only the elements necessary for the man who will appreciate a good life without sacrificing himself for it, she spread out before her the next moment she’d enter as a newborn with a destined path.

She was walking a neighbor’s dog the day Taffy followed the trail she’d laid out for him a month or two after Casey the offshore driller husband walked drunk into his rig’s moon pool and was lost forever in the Indian Ocean. Casey, always a little dumb, maybe because he’d been mixed over post-consumer recycled brown paper, deviated from his trail so often, she was finally forced to confront him at a Kenny Rogers lookalike contest in a mall food court. The small part of herself that still considered itself to be the wife of a French diplomat chuckled in an appreciation of irony as she fell in love, once again, with a man who knew only the simple and unadorned.

Thinking briefly of her father who would be at this hour in front of his TV watching Wheel of Fortune and who’d always been a good man through his daughter’s quirky rebel nature, she reached for the meat cleaver set aside for this purpose and cut through the bone of her left wrist with two whacks. There could be no botched attempts. Every exit demanded it be completed the first time or she’d be stuck. Stuck in one world mourning the losses of every Allard, Casey, Taffy, and childhood crush while reliving 100 lifetimes of mistakes and regrets.

Bleeding out, money tin within reach of her next entry, she soothed herself with the memories of first kisses, first covenants, consummations, wedding pashminas and named her new love Marco.


  1. Wow Erica, I love the way you led into this. It wasn’t until Casey that I started thinking, “Hey, what’s with all the husbands?” Great unexpected ending! Fun to see you on the grid :)

  2. The imagery of her chopping off her own hand was disgustingly good. I also liked the idea of a character taking their life and death into their own hands. Be damned the Gods or Fate!

    • Oh my. That movie looks scary. This is not my normal genre or writing style as you know. Thanks for the comparison.

      • It’s not as much comparison as compliment to a style.

        I feel dumb searching for adjectives about your writing, because I never find the ones that really show how I feel. Thanks for playing at the speakeasy this week! I enjoyed your story and the step out of your comfort zone looks effortless.

  3. i wasn’t expecting the whacks to herself. gross. :)

    • I wasn’t expecting that, either. But I am against failed attempts. That one should do it.

  4. I love how what she thinks she needs changes over time and really adore her interactions with Taffy. Very sweet! And chuckle at the way she blames the bad ones on her source material. Very cool idea — loved it!

    • It’s a seed of an idea formed as I was trying to help the speakeasy get to 12 submissions. Thank you for the encouragement. I’ll give myself many more months to work on it once voting is over.

  5. I was about to message you to find out what the hell was going on, but thought I had better finish it first. Great ending to tie it all together.

  6. I love your style. It’s a sophistication that I can only hope to achieve. I really can’t think of anything to say about this that doesn’t sound stupid, so I’m going to stop now. But I really did love it.

  7. Please delete the previous comment where I inadvertently used someone elses website-obviously need new glasses or new brain.

    That said, once again, You are so Awesome. You know that right?

say something